Under the Reader’s Radar – celebrating the quiet novel.

There are thousands upon thousands of books published each year. Only a small percentage of those make it to the best-seller list. That doesn’t mean that the rest aren’t worthy of reading. It may be that they are written by self-published authors who don’t have the marketing knowledge or a small independent publisher who doesn’t have the marketing budget to spread the word. Even the larger publishing houses have a limited marketing and publicity budget so can’t promote all the novels they publish to an equal degree.

I’m part of a wonderful online community called Book Connectors where bloggers, reviewers and authors can discuss all things book related. During one of the threads there was mention of ‘quiet’ books, the ones that miss out on the big publicity push. It was agreed that it was such a shame that certain books weren’t as widely read, as the reading public were missing out on hidden gems. So that sparked a germ of an idea and I decided to do a series of posts highlight titles that myself and other bloggers and authors feel may have gone under the reader’s radar. (That was the working title for this series of posts and as inspiration hasn’t struck me with anything better, its the one I’m going with for now).

So in each post I’ll aim to highlight a couple of titles that may have been missed from your reading awareness. Hopefully you’ll discover a treat or two. And please do let me know if you have any books you’d like to suggest.

Today’s first novel is The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim, published by Vintage and was suggested by best selling author Sharon Bolton.


“A notice in The Times addressed to ‘Those who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine’ advertises a ‘small mediaeval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April’. Four very different women take up the offer, escaping dreary London for the sunshine of Italy. Among the party are Mrs Wilkins and Mrs Arthuthnot, both fleeing unappreciative husbands; beautiful Lady Caroline, sick of being ‘grabbed’ by lovestruck men; and the imperious Mrs Fisher, who spends her time remembering the bearded ‘great men’ she knew in her Victorian childhood. By the end of their holiday, all the women will fall completely under the spell of Italy in this funny, insightful and very charming novel.”
Read more on the Vintage website.

This is what Sharon had to say:

“A book I absolutely love and recommend to everyone is The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth Von Arnim.  First, because every time I picked it up, it made me feel happy and second, because I’m in awe of a writer who can produce such an engaging, wonderful book, in which absolutely nothing happens.”

Sharon’s latest novel, Daisy in Chains is published by Bantam Press and is out in bookshops now. You can read my review here and see a Q&A with Sharon here.

If that’s not enough to persuade you, The Enchanted April has 89 5 star reviews on Amazon.

The second suggestion is An Unfamiliar Murder by Jane Isaac, which 61 five star reviews on Amazon, put forward by Caryl who blogs at Mrs Bloggs; The Average Reader.


“Arriving home from a routine day at work, Anna Cottrell has no idea that her life is about to change forever. But discovering the stabbed body of a stranger in her flat, then becoming prime suspect in a murder inquiry is only the beginning. Her persistent claims of innocence start to crumble when new evidence links her irrevocably with the victim…

Leading her first murder investigation, DCI Helen Lavery unravels a trail of deception, family secrets and betrayal. When people close to the Cottrell family start to disappear, Lavery is forced into a race against time. Can she catch the killer before he executes his ultimate victim?”

This is what Caryl had to say:

“The main characters were well depicted and likeable and the story suspenseful right the way through until the end. There were a number of twists and turns with false trails that left me trying to guess what was happening and I didn’t.”

You can read Caryl’s full review on her blog. You can also read a Q&A with Jane here and you can find out more about Jane and her books on her website.
So there we have it. Two books I have to add to my wishlist as they both  sound fabulous. Do let me know if you’ve got a quiet book you want to shout about.


7 Comments Add yours

  1. Hfineisen says:

    I loved The Enchanted April and I have seen the play on Broadway based on the book. Fabulous.


    1. janetemson says:

      It does sound wonderful. It’s definitely one I’ll be buying and reading. Glad to hear you loved it 🙂


  2. heavenali says:

    I love The Enchanted April – I really want to read it again. I love quiet novels too – I read so many there are dozens I could name but Elizabeth Bowen’s The Death of the Heart and Elizabeth Taylor’s A Game of Hide and Seek are two I would highlight.


    1. janetemson says:

      Glad to hear you loved it. I’ve not read The Death of the Heart or A Game of Hide and Seek but I’ll have to look them up, thanks for the suggestions. As I’ve done more of these posts I’ve come to realise I’m not as widely read as I thought I was 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kate W says:

    Yay! I’m about to read Enchanted April – have heard so many good things and not sure how it had slipped under my radar for so long.


    1. janetemson says:

      I’ve just bought it today! I thought it sounded like a perfect ‘quiet’ read, one to curl up with and wallow in 🙂 I hope you enjoy it. We’ll have to compare notes!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.